After parting with US $200 million Vedanta Resources Plc’s 69 year-old Indian owner, Anil Agarwal, is assured of getting back KCM which he lost control of in a Zambian government initiated liquidation order in 2020.
Agarwal acquired KCM in 2004 in a transaction which had an aggregate value of approximately US$270 million, comprised of cash consideration of US$48.2 million for the 51 per cent stake, a commitment on the part of Vedanta to fund cash flows in KCM to an aggregate limit of US$220 million, and an agreement on the part of Vedanta to contribute US$1 million towards the cost of a feasibility study of substantial deeper level resources associated with the Konkola mine (containing estimated resources of around 250 million tonnes at 3.8 per cent copper), to be undertaken by December 31, 2006.
In August 2021, whilst addressing miners in Kitwe, Mr Edgar Lungu (President of the Republic of Zambia then) then claimed that he had received a report that Mr Hakainde Hichilema was soliciting US$300,000 from Vedanta, promising to give them back KCM once elected. An accusation, which Mr Hichilema vehemently denied.
On April 25, 2022, during a media briefing at State House, Mr Hichilema dismissed media reports suggesting that government planned to give back KCM to Vedanta as falsehoods.
But on May 9, 2022, Mr Hichilema U-turned stating that “Vedanta and ourselves have agreed that we suspend litigation.”
Going by the sequence of events and inconsistencies in the statements, especially on the part of Mr Hichilema, we demand that he comes out clean on the Vedanta issue. What is going on? The Zambian people deserve to know the truth and how decisions have been arrived at in this matter.